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Microsoft and Steelcase partner for creative workspaces

Steelcase creates office solutions to allow collaboration with Microsoft Surface devices

Microsoft and Steelcase partner for creative workspaces
The Steelcase and Microsoft workspaces are intended to enable collaborative work focused around Microsoft Surface devices.

Microsoft and office architecture and furniture specialist Steelcase have announced five new workspaces, developed around Microsoft Surface systems, to encourage collaboration and creativity.

The workspaces are intended to create a tailored mix of technology and space that allow individuals, pairs or groups of people to work together.

The two companies said the new workspace solutions were created based on research they conducted, which showed growing demand for spaces that encourage creativity, across many different sectors.

The study found that 25% of respondents don't believe they can be creative in the work places they currently have for group work. Employees also ranked having a place to work without disruption as the second highest factor that could improve creativity, just behind the need for more time to think.

The companies' exploration of creative work found that creativity is a process in which anyone can engage and requires diverse work modes as well as different types of technology. People need to work alone, in pairs and in different size groups throughout a creative process, and they need a range of devices that are mobile and integrated into the physical workplace. Additionally, spaces should inspire people without compromising performance.

"The problems people face at work today are much more complex than they used to be. They require a new creative way of thinking and a very different work process," said Sara Armbruster, vice president of strategy, research and new business innovation for Steelcase. "We believe that everyone has the capacity for creative thinking, and people are happier doing creative, productive work. Together, Microsoft and Steelcase will help organisations thoughtfully integrate place and technology to encourage creative behaviours at work."

Ryan Gavin, general manager, Microsoft Surface marketing added: "With Steelcase we have the compelling opportunity to blend place and technology into a seamless environment that allows our most important asset, our people, to unlock their creativity and share that with others. The future of work is creative."

The new workspaces are intended for individuals and groups of people, using devices ranging from the Microsoft Surface Book notebooks, and all-in-ones, up to the Surface Hub multi-touch collaboration screen.

To support the new workspaces, Microsoft announced that selected Steelcase dealers will be able to join the authorised Surface Hub reseller program.

Steelcase and Microsoft also announced that they are working together to develop new technology-enabled office solutions built on Microsoft Azure IoT technology, which will provide companies with analytics that help improve workplaces and solutions to help employees find the best places to do diverse types of work within the office.

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